Davis clings on as all to play for after QF Day One

At 12-2 down it looked as though Steve Davis would come down to earth with a bump and suffer his first defeat at the Crucible with a session to spare since a 13-3 loss to Ken Doherty back in 1997. While he did manage to take the last two frames to extend the match to a third session however, the remaining three quarter-finals are all finely balanced headed into Wednesday…

After his narrow escape against Martin Gould the other day it is perhaps typical that this time it is the Australian Robertson who is the one with a healthy lead against six-times champion Steve Davis. After his epic victory against John Higgins it was always going to be a tough ask for Steve to repeat those heroics and in racing to a 7-1 lead after the first session it looked like the match could be over with a session to spare. Fair play to Steve though he recorded a stunning century break, his 46th at the Crucible Theatre, to show that he was not totally out of the picture and snatched the last two frames on the colours to take the match into tomorrow.

Over on the other side of the curtain however, Mark Allen and 2006 champion  Graeme Dott finished up level at 8-8, despite Mark actually getting off to a perfect start by taking the first four frames of this morning’s session. Of all the player’s left in the tournament however Graeme is arguably the most determined and with a top 16 place awaiting him at the expense of Jamie Cope should he complete a shock victory, I just have a gut feeling that he will find a way to win. Will be fascinating to find out.

Meanwhile the other two matches of the day are also finely poised with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby locked at 4-4 and Shaun Murphy holding a narrow 5-3 advantage over 2008 finalist Ali Carter. Whilst I did not see either session I understand that whilst it was Selby who was relieved to get to the interval level at four each with Stephen Hendry in his previous match, this time it would have been O’Sullivan who was not quite at his best and will be the happier of the two.

Shaun Murphy though was very impressive last night in finishing off Ding Junhui and picked up where he left off against Carter by taking the first two frames this morning on the way to that 5-3 lead. I have been impressed with Carter’s consistency over the past couple of seasons but I would expect Shaun to come through this match and book his place in the last four eventually, though it is far from a certainty.